Disney Research 3D Printed Optics- 10.02.12
3D printed light bulbs that play with the way light is distributed… a 3D printed toy that’s responsive to a little girl with its digital eyes… LEDs embedded right into your 3D print while printing… 3D printable sensors, buttons, and switches… even a mobile 3D display created by projecting on internal bubbles within a 3D printed model. These are all possible now ~ and demonstrated in the latest project to come from Disney Research Pittsburgh - “Printed Optics” by Karl D.D. Willis, Eric Brockmeyer, Scott E. Hudson, Ivan Poupyrev.
Changing perspectives on how 3D prints works, this project both interrupts the printing process (to insert electronics), and also plays with the capabilities of the 3D printing itself to manipulate the way light behaves within the final print, turning a 3D print right out of the printer into “unique display surfaces, novel illumination techniques, custom optical sensors, and robust embedded components can be digitally fabricated for rapid, high fidelity, customized interactive devices.” While the material they are printing in isn’t your makerbot/consumer level printing (yet!) - this combination of UV cured resin and a special completely clear resin designed specifically for optical uses, creates the ability to create “light pipes” which function much like fiber optics. The possibilities with the direction of this research add a whole new level of interactivity to 3D prints! (Read the full paper here!) See them in action in the video and images on the next page…
Here’s a video of the demonstration of the various test uses -